Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Overheard (Version 2)
These exercises were written
by IWW members
and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its
You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that
them at the Internet Writers Workshop
Prepared by: Ruth Douillette
Posted May 28, 2006
Reposted, revised on August 12, 2007
Exercise: In 300 words or less, write a scene using the dialogue that
so we understand the characters, where they are and why the
Writers are always on the lookout for good story ideas. An overheard
conversation often produces a spark upon which a plot can be built.
the cell phone conversation in the grocery store that provides fodder
This exercise focuses on dialogue enhancement. Read the snippet of
below and imagine a setting in which this conversation might take
place, and the
characters who might speak these lines. Write a scene around the given
so that we understand the characters, where they are and why the
is taking place.
Your "enhancement" might make the conversation humorous, angry,
heartbreaking, or just an ordinary dinner table chat. Through your
narrative and dialogue tags, the reader should be able to clearly see
characters in a particular setting having this particular conversation.
the lines you overheard:
"I can't believe you just said that."
"Why? What's wrong with that?"
"You're kidding me, right?"
"Hey, it's the truth. I call it like I see it."
"But, under the circumstances . . . "
This dialogue is a framework; feel free to use it creatively.
In 300 words or less, write a scene using the above dialogue so we
characters, where they are and why the conversation is taking place.
When critiquing, let writers know if the dialogue makes sense for the
and setting chosen. Do you know where the action takes place? Are
revealed? Are the dialogue tags helpful in enhancing the story without
stilted? How could the writers have made scenes better?
Web site created by
Rhéal Nadeau and
the administrators of the Internet Writing Workshop.
Modified by Gayle Surrette.